Democratic attorney Felecia Rotellini has become the first person to officially enter the race for Arizona attorney general.
Rotellini, who has been raising money through her exploratory committee for over a month, announced the switch to full candidate mode via press release Tuesday morning.
“The overwhelming response I’ve received to my exploratory effort over the last several weeks has convinced me more than ever that I am the right candidate to run for Attorney General,” said Rotellini. “As I travel around the state talking to Arizonans, they tell me they want a tough, disciplined prosecutor and a consumer advocate – not a politician – representing their interests.”
Rotellini served as an assistant attorney general in Arizona for 13 years and ran the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions from 2005 until last August. She is running to replace current Arizona AG Terry Goddard, who is himself expected to announce a bid for governor in January, once he is in the final year of his term (per Arizona state law, if he announced earlier he would be required to resign as AG).
Despite being first in, Rotellini may have a tough road ahead. Arizona House Minority Leader David Lujan also has an exploratory committee open for a shot at AG, and Vince Rabago, the popular Pima County Democrat and assistant attorney general, still hasn’t counted himself out of a primary run.
If she is able to weather a primary challenge, Rotellini is expected to face Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas in the general election. Thomas, who has proven his electoral viability twice in the state’s most populous county, will doubtless run an intense and likely vicious campaign to become the state’s top law enforcement official.
However, Rotellini seems to have the resume and resourcefulness to win both in August and November. She counts among her accomplishments recovering $217 million for victims of fraud perpetrated by the Baptist Foundation of Arizona and the notoriously corrupt accounting firm Arthur Andersen. She also raised the alarm over the rise in mortgage fraud as superintendent of the Department of Financial Institutions. And, it is always important to note, she is a woman in a state where statewide female candidates always do well. Lauren Harmon, her campaign manager, is young but experienced, and she definitely has the buzz factor on her side for the time being.
If Felecia Rotellini can maintain the sort of dynamism and energy she has demonstrated so far and effectively capitalize on her innate advantages, she is likely to have a very good Election Day 2010.